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Winnipeg's festive lights displays a year long process

November 14, 2018

From Santa and his reindeers to poinsettias and stars, the City of Winnipeg’s festive lights displays help make the holiday season a little brighter.

“You go downtown and you see them up there and you appreciate them for what they are at the time,” Derek Resch, Public Service Operations Supervisor, said. “You kind of forget about them once they come down until you see them next season.”

Resch is responsible for 750 pole mounted fixtures and five large median displays. Altogether, the collection spans 7.5 kilometres through downtown. Prep work to get the fixtures ready for the holidays is a year-long process.

Lights 1 Lights 2 Lights 3 Lights 4

“I don’t think a lot of people realize there is a lot of work in maintaining the collection,” Resch said.

The work starts as soon as the lights come down in January with a good cleaning.

“They get a lot of grime and road salt built up on them from being outside,” he said. “We give them a nice bath and clean them off.”

All the lights are then tested to make sure they are working. Anything that isn’t is repaired. Resch said the repairs are ongoing through the summer.

Up until 2002 the collection used lightbulbs. That meant power consumption for the display was roughly 305kw. With the change to energy efficient LED rope lighting, power consumption dropped significantly to approximately 29kw.

The lights will be turned on by the Mayor during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at City Hall on November 14, 2018 starting at 6 p.m. They will be illuminated during every evening and overnight until January 11th, 2019.